Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Tracking Turkey - October 2017

‘EU failed us, Turkey doesn’t need it anymore,’ says Erdogan 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that his country has outgrown its need for EU membership over the course of rocky 12-year accession talks. Recep Tayyip Erdogan also accused Europe of harboring terrorists.
“To tell the truth, we don’t need EU membership anymore,” he told parliament in a speech Sunday.

Ergogan, however, did not completely rule out Ankara’s EU accession ambitions, saying, “we will not be the side which gives up,” and insisted that Turkey is ready to become a part of the bloc, but only as proper constituents of the union.

“If the EU is going to leap forward, there is only one way to do so. And it is to grant Turkey membership and start an action of cultural and economic growth,” said Erdogan, whose government played an instrumental role in starting the full membership talks in 2005 when he was prime minister........

Turkey: Arrest warrants out for over 140 ministry staff

Personnel of National Education Ministry, and Ministry of Youth and Sports have been accused of using Bylock mobile app
The Chief Public Prosecutor's Office in Ankara issued arrest warrants for 121 National Education Ministry personnel and 21 former Ministry of Youth and Sports staff on Tuesday as part of a probe into the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).

So far, 82 suspects have been arrested by Tuesday afternoon.

The suspects have been accused of using the ByLock mobile app that was used by Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) members during last year’s deadly defeated coup.

In a statement, the prosecutor's office said the Ankara-based probe was being conducted throughout eight provinces' public institutions and organizations....

US Embassy in hot water over press ban, employee's terror links

The US Embassy in Ankara has not responded concerning the disinvitation of a columnist working at a newspaper that reported on the indictment on an employee at the U.S. Consulate with links to terrorism suspects and Foreign Ministry's remarks that the suspect was not on the official staff list of the embassy

As the embassy of a country that advocates global press freedom and is a leading actor in counterterrorism, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara apparently failed at both in just a few days. After a harsh statement over the arrest of a U.S. Consulate employee for alleged links to a terrorist group, the U.S. Embassy now finds itself in hot water for disinviting Hilal Kaplan.....

Ankara suspends visa services in Washington in tit-for-tat response to US

 The Turkish authorities said they are suspending all non-immigrant visa services provided by the Turkish mission facilities based in Washington as a countermeasure to a similar decision by the US announced just hours before.

"Recent events have forced the Turkish government to reassess the commitment of the government of the United States to the security of Turkish mission facilities and personnel," Turkey’s Washington embassy said in a statement Sunday.....

Russian views on the separatist referendums in Spain and Iraq

....Let’s not forget the for all the official smiles and declarations of mutual friendship, Erdogan is not, and will never, be trusted by the Kremlin. Furthermore, let’s not forget that Russia and Turkey fought 12 (twelve!) wars (1568-1570, 1672-1681, 1686-1700, 1710-1713, 1735-1739, 1768-1774, 1787-1791, 1806-1812, 1828-1829, 1853-1856, 1877-1878, 1914-1918). Neither should we forget the role Turkey played in supporting Takfiri terrorism in Chechnia. Or the fact that Erdogan himself bears a huge responsibility in the bloodbath in Syria. Oh and there is the issue of the Russian bomber shot down (with US assistance) over Syrian airspace. So, all in all, there is a lot in the past and the Russian will not ignore it. While it is most definitely not in the Russian national interest to fully support an independent Kurdistan anywhere (meaning not in Turkey, not in Iraq, not in Iran and not in Syria), a Realpolitik approach would strongly suggest that the Russian have an objective interest in keeping the Kurdish issue festering just to have a potential leverage against Turkey. Is that cynical? Yes, absolutely. I am not saying that this is morally/ethically right, only that there will be those in Russia who will make that case.......

Ambassador Bass caused visa row between Turkey and US, Erdogan says

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that Ambassador John Bass is the one who caused the recent visa row between Turkey and the U.S.

Speaking at a meeting with provincial governors at the Bestepe Presidential Complex in Ankara, Erdogan said: "It is unacceptable for the United States to sacrifice a strategic partner to an ambassador who doesn't know his place."

"It's a shame if the U.S. is governed by an ambassador in Ankara," he added.

According to Erdogan, the remnants of previous president Barack Obama's administration were trying to undermine the relationship between Turkey and the new administration led by President Donald Trump.....

Banner of terror leader harms alliance with US: Turkey

'What else does US need to understand that the YPG and PYD are terrorist groups?' says Turkish PM Binali Yildirim
Washington’s indifference to a terror group displaying a huge banner of its convicted terrorist leader in the Syrian city of Raqqah will damage the U.S.-Turkish alliance, Turkey’s prime minister said on Friday.

“Such images are a great misfortune,” Binali Yildirim told reporters after Friday prayers in Istanbul.

“We have constantly told our ally, the United States of America, [and] the latest image shows the regretful consequences of cooperating with one terrorist organization to destroy another.”.......

Lira Tanks As Germany Pressures Banks To Cut Turkey Funding

Following yesterday's US decision to decline a visa for a Justice ministry delegation, it was Germany's turn today to put the screws to Turkey. As Bloomberg reports, Germany is actively working to cut funding to Turkey from the country’s state-owned KfW bank, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, people familiar with the matter say.

Germany’s government “is closely following the political and legal developments in Turkey,” the Finance Ministry says in a statement to Bloomberg; ministries coordinate positions “and possible conclusions for the investment policy of international development banks,” while loans for private-sector projects are subject to appraisal on a case-by-case basis.....

FETÖ suspects arrested on way to Greece

Turkish Coast Guard intercept boat off coast of southwestern Mugla province
Turkish security forces on Friday arrested a total of 17 suspected members of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) who were attempting to cross by sea to nearby Greek islands.

The Turkish Coast Guard stopped a boat -- carrying 30 Turkish citizens including 13 children -- off the coast of the Bodrum district of the southwestern Mugla province, said sources who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.......

Turkey and Qatar: Behind the strategic alliance

The third meeting of Turkey-Qatar Supreme Strategic Committee at the ministerial level kicked off in Istanbul on Monday, October 23. Al Jazeera examines the strategic relationship binding the two countries.

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